By Susan Hoffman
Edge Managing Editor
During the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked major changes in just about every area of our lives, including our workplaces, schools, hospitals and churches. The pandemic has affected what we do, where we go and how we socialize.
At this point, many of us are fed up with social distancing, wearing face masks and other protective gear, and curtailing our activities to remain safe. We’re tired of reading stories about new, emerging coronavirus variants and being afraid of what will happen if we, our family, or our friends contract COVID-19. We feel restless, as if our lives are on pause, and we long for the days when life returns to “normal.”
The Symptoms of COVID-19 Burnout
In our current situation, it is all too easy to feel the symptoms of pandemic fatigue, otherwise known as COVID-19 burnout. According to Piedmont Healthcare, the symptoms of COVID-19 burnout include:
- A decline in compliance with mask wearing and social distancing
- Having anxiety if you even briefly pass by someone not wearing a mask
- Feeling constantly tired even when you’ve gotten enough sleep
- Lacking motivation or a sense of purpose
- Snapping at your loved ones
- Feeling depressed or isolated
Dealing with COVID-19 Burnout at Home
There are various strategies you can adopt at home to help you deal with COVID-19 burnout. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends several strategies, including:
- Developing a consistent daily routine and sleep schedule
- Spending time outdoors, being active or just relaxing
- Reaching out to friends and family
- Taking breaks from news sites and social media
- Practicing meditation
If your daily schedule doesn’t allow much leisure time, try to at least take a short break during the day or in the evening. Even if you can only spare 15 minutes, that break can be revitalizing.
It’s also helpful to create social events to anticipate. These types of events could include an outdoor hike, visiting a nearby tourist attraction, or other indoor/outdoor activities you can safely pursue.
The University Offers Different Resources to Help You
If you are struggling – with your education, your career or your personal life – remember that the University offers multiple resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it, especially if you’re feeling COVID-19 burnout.
Instructors, Academic Advisors and Librarians
If you’re a current student experiencing stress from handling the simultaneous demands of classes, caring for parents/children, and working, consider talking with your instructor. He or she may be able to offer some practical solutions and a pep talk.
Our academic advisors are another potential resource. They can not only provide you with information about university policies and academic programs, but they can also listen to your concerns and provide motivation to help you stay on track with your academic plan.
The University’s librarians are yet another resource if you need help with locating classwork resources. Our librarians can guide you toward the right resources you need for assignments as well as answer any questions you may have about navigating our online library.
If you’re a current student or alumni seeking employment, our Career Services team offers multiple services that are helpful for job hunters, such as:
- Career exploration
- Career coaching
- Federal career coaching
- Resume and social media reviews
- Mock interviews
- Job boards
- Virtual career fairs
We offer more than 70 student organizations devoted to different interests. Joining one of them can be beneficial in alleviating COVID-19 burnout and feelings of isolation. In addition, belonging to a student organization allows you the opportunity to develop new networks and leadership skills.
For military spouses who are experiencing the deployment of a husband or wife, think about joining the Military Spouses Club to talk with its members. This student organization is open to current students, alumni, faculty, and staff; it is comprised of people who understand the military lifestyle and its demands on servicemembers and their families.
If you’re a current student, staff member, or faculty instructor undergoing deeper issues such as a feeling of being overwhelmed at home or work, depression, grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), consider making an appointment to talk with one of our University’s chaplains. Our chaplains will listen to you in a nonjudgmental manner and provide useful advice and encouragement.
Related link: A Letter from the APUS Chaplain
The Pandemic Has Affected Each of Us in Different Ways
The current pandemic has affected us all in different ways. Although we cannot control when the pandemic will end, we do have the power to control what we do about the stress COVID-19 burnout has caused in our personal and professional lives. We can also determine what problems are causing us the most stress, prioritize which problems require immediate solutions, and reach out to the resources and social networks available to us.